Friday, April 22, 2011

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

I had a friend crash at my place and no slumber party is complete without Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, wine, and a plate of warm cookies.  Weird?  I think not.  In flipping through my trusty Gourmet Cookbook, I found this prize-winner of a recipe.


1 cup chunky or smooth peanut butter (I used JIF Natural Creamy)
1 cup sugar (I recommend 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar)
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
Optional: Handful of chopped walnuts or chocolate bits if you like


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with butter and set aside. With a mixer, combine peanut butter and sugars until well combined, about 2 minutes or so. Add the egg and baking soda and mix for another 2 minutes.  Fold in the walnut pieces or chocolate bits if you wish at this point, then roll mixture into a ball, about 1-1 1/2" wide, and repeat for the rest of the dough.  Bake for 10-13 minutes, until lightly browned around the edges.

These cookies are best served warm, and be careful:  they are pretty delicate and would only keep for another day or so in an air-tight container.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Grilled Cheese with Pear and Brie

Grilled cheeses are like pajamas.  Mix and match all your favorite things, you're bound to find something that just works for you.  This worked for me last week, and I'm sure I'll return to it again.


2 slices- bread of choice (I used Pepperidge Farm Dark German Wheat)
Your favorite chutney (cranberry would be good.  I used My Naani's Apple Chutney)
4 slices of brie
1/2 red pear, thinly sliced
a small handful of spinach or arugula leaves
butter, as needed


Instead of buttering the bread before grilling, I decided to go crazy up in my kitchen and melt the butter a bit in the skillet itself,  just till it started to brown.  Meanwhile, I slathered some chutney on each slice of bread, dashed a bit of cayenne pepper for added kick, then layered the brie, then pear.  I correctly figured each side would get melty enough as-is, and so I put each half-sandwich side on the melted butter (over medium-high heat) on my stove, so they would simultaneously get melty (I didn't want the spinach to wilt, you see.)  After about 2 minutes and the sandwiches were toasting (not burning!) and the brie was just starting to melt, I added the spinach to one half-sandwich, flipped the other half on top of it, and finished grilling my sammie to perfection.  I rather liked my "melted butter" version than the traditional version.